Friday 24 November 2017


NOW that a recent price survey showed a disparity of up to 20 per cent on some items between convenience stores and multiples, perhaps it is time for the consumer watchdog to turn its attention to the produce being served at GAA grounds around the country where the tastiest ingredient is usually the cost involved.

Everyone who has been to a GAA match will know what it is like to feel ripped off by these food providers with mark-ups that make 20 per cent margins seem like a pittance. The GAA has shown some interest in health and safety issues, it might now look at fair price.

AT THE START of the year you would have got serious odds on unknown quantities Alan Byrne, Shane Maher and Daragh Hickey starting for Tipperary in an All-Ireland quarter-final, while a fit Eoin Kelly waited on the bench. Byrne and Maher were both demoted to the Tipp intermediate side at the start of the championship and Hickey has only come on the senior panel in the last three weeks. But in a season where team management have started 11 different players in the half-forward line alone, Tipp fans have learned to expect the unexpected.

STEPHEN BRAY is the in-form corner-forward in Gaelic football at the moment. Navan O'Mahony's star Bray can kick with both feet and has snatched 2-14 from six championship games to date, but the Meath livewire was also on fire during the league as his stats show. Despite missing four weeks through suspension, he was a constant threat, scoring 1-1 in the final against Roscommon, 1-1 in the semi-final against Monaghan, 0-4 against Wexford in the final group game. 1-2 against Wicklow and 0-4 against Tipperary. Now that's consistency.

SEPTEMBER could be a big month for Dublin wing-back Paul Casey. He's hoping to play in the All-Ireland final that month, and is also hoping to start in his first job, having completed eight years' study during which he acquired degrees in business and sports science and health.

His thesis for his sports science degree compared minor and senior football All-Ireland level from 2003 to 2006. Among the areas he looked at were the relative use of the handpass and the kick-pass, and he found that minors tended to kick more and, as a result, turn over possession more. So, if coaches favour the use of the handpass, you can see why.

Incidentally, Paul's father, Michael, won a Munster minor medal with Kerry in 1968 and had a big influence on the Lucan Sarsfields' player's progress. His mother, Mary, is from Kilkenny, so naturally he also has a love of hurling, which he played until sixth year, when football took over. "It was great to see the hurlers win the Under-21 title the week after we won Leinster," said Paul, who surmised about a possible Dubs' Leinster double in the future.

NO matter how high you go in the coaching world, there is always something new to learn. And that hasn't been lost on some top GAA people who have enrolled on the first course in Setanta College, the new institute of study in Irish sport and education, launched by Pádraig Harrington last week.

Jim Kilty, the founder of the college, which offers accredited sports and coaching study programmes through distance learning and the internet, said that inter-county managers and the trainer of an All-Ireland-winning team are among the 28 people who are on the pilot programme.

The Gaelic Players' Association provide promotional and advisory support to Setanta College through membership, and also their encouragement of players nearing retirement to undertake courses. Major seminars are scheduled in each of the four provinces on October 27, November 24, December 1 and 8 at venues to be confirmed.

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AN acquaintance has been singing the praises of a batch of hurls which arrived at his doorstep in recent days, courtesy of Jack Carey, brother of DJ. The interesting thing is that all of Jack's hurls are now made in Slovakia on the banks of the Danube where the ash is sourced. He has based himself there and exports the finished product to Ireland.

By his reckoning no more than five per cent of hurls sold here are made from ash grown in Ireland.

Dermot Crowe, Damian Lawlor, Seán Ryan

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